Worldviews and Conversations

“In its simplest terms, a worldview is a set of beliefs about the most important issues in life. The philosophical systems of thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle were worldviews. Every mature rational human being…has his or her own worldview just as surely as Plato did.” – Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict

One’s worldview contains thoughts about God (a spiritual element), along with concepts about ultimate reality, knowledge, ethics, and humankind in general. Many deny that they are completely non-spiritual, or non-theists, but that is still a thought about spirituality, and therefore represents a ‘worldview’.

Understanding the concept of worldviews and applying that concept to the art of conversation can be very beneficial to the dialogue, whatever the subject under consideration. With certain topics (God, for instance), discussing in terms of ‘wordviews’ can take the conversation out of the personal opinion arena and place it on a completely non-personal playing field. In fact, two people with opposite worldviews can assume the other’s worldview, much like a debater being assigned a position he or she does not actually agree with.

Making a claim that all men know of the existence of God, with reference to a passage of scripture that says exactly that, is not a personal accusation that the atheist is a liar, but a statement about the knowledge of God from a Christian worldview. It’s like saying, ‘According to Richard Dawkins, religious people are stupid idiots.’ That is not necessarily a personal accusation. A Christian, who obviously wouldn’t believe that, could even make the statement!

Unfortunately, many atheists/non-theists, if not most of them, accuse Christians of proselytizing for just talking about God. Some Christians might bring up the topic of God in order to proselytize, or to try and convert someone, but we are also capable of objective conversation about God – of expressing the ‘Christian’ worldview without trying to convert anyone. Some of us even believe that we can’t actually convert anyone, but we can only present the God ‘option’ and the gospel message of the Bible and leave the rest in God’s capable hands.

So why are so many atheists convinced that we are intentionally proselytizing when we talk about God?

9 responses to “Worldviews and Conversations

  1. Well….aren’t we? I am.

    I guess I just assume everyone has their personal biases and beliefs and those things interfere with every aspect of our lives and every conversation we have. Just like the athiest is trying to convert people to their way of thinking, every one else is trying to do the same thing. Otherwise, why even engage in the conversation. You might not think you are trying to change someone’s mind, but you are.

    I don’t think the question is really whether a christian is proselytizing or not…but more Why is the pot calling the kettle black??? Why the hypocrisy? Why the double standard? A christian is no more guilty of “proselytizing” than the athiest is. Infact, I paid for my athiest gospel back in college and I didn’t even ask for it! They say it’s important for biology and stuff like that.

    I think we should begin all conversations about creation and God with an athiest by stating…I’m a creationist. Convert me…. 🙂

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  2. You are probably right. I was just pointing out that it is possible to have conversations about from a purely intellectual/philosophical level. Toa ccuse a person of proselytizing, means a judgment call that might not be true.

    While I might want to see every atheist I speak with come to Christ, I don’t believe I can actual ‘convert’ anyone. God does that. I’m just a messenger.

    Personally I think the answer to the ‘why’ is bound up in Romans 1.

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  3. Romans 1 is very clear about that for sure.

    You’re right. You’re the messenger. God’s the converter. Maybe you need to give your conversation buddies a lesson in the Sovereignty of God next time you get accused. Just point out the difference of definition given in Merriam-Webster as opposed to how Biblical Christianity works. The two are very different arent they…or at least the Who involved in converting is very different anyway. Man vs. God.

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  4. Morning, Dawnmarie

    I have yet to find a Christian who would dare suggest that man saves himself, but some would hold on to the notion that man’s decision is the last ‘event’ in whas needs to happen for anyone to be saved, and that decision is made without supernatural intereference of any sort. What that is really saying, in my mind, is that God ‘makes it possible’ for someone to be saved, but human will
    is the deciding factor.

    That’s the difference between monergistic and synergistic regeneration. Either God regenerates the human heart and a person believes the gospel (the Lydia principle), or a person hears the gospel, decides in his her mind that he/she wants to be saved, and ‘gives God permission’ to regenerate his/her heart.

    Sounds like a blog post “Salvation – Is it a completely work of God, or is it ‘Shake ‘n Bake’?”

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  5. Morning Born

    Well, if it were shake and bake, I’d be in a world of trouble! We all would!

    You better keep that title in mind for you future post on the subject! It’s a keeper.

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  6. Yes, we make a choice, but because God ‘moved’ our hearts to choose Christ, like he ‘moved’ three Kings of Persia to support the rebuilding of the Temple. All three Kings supported the work willingly and enthusiastic. If God had not moved their hearts however, they probably wouldn’t have lifted a finger.

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  7. I explained exactly that that in another forum and even named it ‘effectual grace’ In plain English I used those same words. We choose Christ because God moves us to do so, NOT out of our natural human will. Even referred readers to Romans 3 concernng what ‘natural man is like’. I.

    I still Got “Did you CHOOSE Christ or were you forced?”

    Minds rusted shut are hard to open. But God can and does open them!

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